THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWS SERVICE is brought to you by Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) and the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), and is sponsored by the Law Offices of Richard M. Lester. If you’ve been involved in any kind of accident, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.

NCOM BIKER NEWSBYTES

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,

National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

NCOM CONVENTION ON TRACK FOR INDY

The 35th Annual NCOM Convention, rescheduled due to the Coronavirus outbreak from Mother’s Day weekend to October 16-17 at the Marriott Indianapolis East (7202 East 21st Street in Indianapolis), is still on track and heading into the final stretch.  Hundreds of concerned motorcyclists from across the country are heading to “The Crossroads of America” to address topics of concern to all riders, so plan now to be a part of this historic gathering of motorcycle rights activists.

Some of the motorcyclists’ rights movement’s most accomplished Freedom Fighters will teach seminars and lead group discussions on legal and legislative issues such as anti-profiling and “Save the Patch” efforts, with “Protect Your Rights/Probable Cause” and “Vulnerable Road Users Legislation To Protect Our Riders” seminars, and Special Meetings for Veterans Affairs, Women in Motorcycling, Clean & Sober Roundtable and World of Sport Bikes, as well as the Christian Unity Conference and Confederation of Clubs Patch Holders Meeting.  Renowned EMT Dick “Slider” Gilmore will present his “Save a Biker’s Life” seminar on The Golden Hour.

Capping off Convention activities will be the Silver Spoke Awards Banquet, highlighting outstanding freedom fighters for their contributions to the cause of “Freedom of the Road”: author and filmmaker John E. (Black Dragon) Bunch II (ENTERTAINMENT); Jad Breiner – Sons of Silence MC, editor of Brothers Behind Bars (BBB) Newsletter (MEDIA); Pete Leehey – AIM Attorney, Iowa (LEGAL); with SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS presented to Nancy Nemecek and Fred “Sarge” Matthews and NCOM’s highest honor, the RON ROLOFF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD going to John Bilotta Jr. of the NCOM Board of Directors and Operations Director for ABATE of Virginia.

With the Indianapolis Convention racing toward the finish line, pre-register now by calling the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) 525-5355 or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.  For more info, click on http://onabike.com/national-coalition-of-motorcyclists/convention.html.

TARIFFS ON MOTORCYCLES SUCCESSFULLY OPPOSED, AGAIN

The Office of United States Trade Representative once again proposed tariffs of up to 100% on all 500-700cc motorcycles and scooters, as well as all parts and accessories, imported from the European Union and the United Kingdom, but opposition led by the motorcycle community led to the successful elimination of the ill-conceived ‘tax’ stemming from a dispute over aircraft subsidies.

The proposed trade sanctions would not only have negatively impacted the motorcycle sales industry, including the aftermarket equipment sector, it could have deeply affected motorcyclists who rely on imported parts for general maintenance.

“We’re incredibly pleased that European motorcycles, parts, and accessories have been removed from the most recent round of EU tariffs in relation to the Airbus situation,” said John Hinz of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and CEO of KTM North America Inc.  “We are extremely thankful that the U.S. Trade Representative heard our concerns and recognized the unintended and potentially devastating impacts that tariffs could have on our industry.  This would not have been possible without the support of the MIC and its members, the efforts of Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., Congressman Tim Walberg, Congressman Ken Calvert, Congressman Jim Jordan, our dealers and our employees, and the support of all our industry partners.  Thank you to all who wrote letters, made phone calls, and let Washington, D.C., know the value of our industry and our businesses here in the United States.”

It was an international effort as well, with written comments supplied by Antonio Perlot, secretary general of ACEM, the Motorcycle Industry in Europe.  “This was the third time the USTR made this proposal, and the third time the industry was able to prevail with combined support,” said Erik Pritchard, MIC president and CEO.

MOTORCYCLE SALES UP DESPITE PANDEMIC

“Despite economic downturn, powersports sales have been surprisingly robust,” according to Cycle World Magazine, which notes; The streets are quiet.  Supply chains have disintegrated. Unemployment is at record highs.  So it would stand to reason that all economic indicators and consumer spending in particular would be down for the year as well but, perhaps counterintuitively, motorcycle sales are up.

“You heard that right,” declares CW.  “Across the board, retail sales for the last three months have shown a steady uptick.  It’s more obvious in certain segments but the trend is undeniable; year-to-date powersports sales are better than they’ve been in years.  Can you say pandemic paradox?”

Following a series of declining years, 2020′s data was already looking fairly optimistic; motorcycles sales in February of 2020 were up 3.5% year-to-date, according to MotorcyclesData.com, but when the pandemic hit in early March and the auto industry began its sales freefall, most business insiders assumed the same fate would befall the motorcycle sector.  The surprising news came in early June, when the smoke cleared and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) reported that year-to-date retail powersports sales were better than they’d been in the past three years. “The powersports industry is in a much more positive place than where we thought we’d be earlier this year, when the full impact of the pandemic began to come into focus,” MIC President and CEO Erik Pritchard said.

Of course, “powersports” includes ATVs, side-by-sides, and motorcycles, but in fact, sales were up 18.9% through March, according to the MIC’s Retail Sales Reporting System.  In sum, sales were relatively strong from January through April, and May was a great month for most.

Pritchard also pointed out, “The first four months of 2020, it’s the second-best performance only to 2016 — in the midst of a pandemic.”

CARB FINES AFTERMARKET RETAILER FOR “UNAPPROVED” MOTORCYCLE EXHAUSTS

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced that Comoto Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Revzilla, J&P Cycles, and Cycle Gear, has agreed to pay a $1,937,500 fine for selling motorcycle exhaust systems not approved for street use in the state of California.

CARB sets laws and emission regulations for California that are more stringent than the federal government.  An aftermarket intake or exhaust can be legal for street use in most of the United States, but illegal in California because CARB has not certified it.  According to RideApart.com, this case involves the sale of around 7,750 parts to California residents that allegedly did not have legal exemptions to California’s anti-tampering laws for emission controls.

Comoto sold these parts in California with the disclaimer that they were being sold for off-road and race use only, not for use on public roads.  This has been a commonly accepted practice among aftermarket retailers attempting to conform with CARB certification, placing the responsibility on the consumer to make sure their vehicle is compliant with CARB regulations.

But that didn’t stop CARB from taking legal action against Comoto anyway, accusing the company of selling them for both highway and off-road use.  Rather than fighting it out in court, CARB and Comoto agreed to a $1.93 million settlement, which will fund various air pollution funds and projects in California.  While a hefty sum indeed, it’s still far less than the potential $180 million fine if Comoto been found guilty in court and slapped with the maximum fine.

Comoto says it will continue to sell these exhausts, but will put even stronger wording on them that they are not to be used on California roads, ever.  This sets a dangerous precedent as well since the “for off-road use only” disclaimer has been a standard operating procedure for years.  Therefore, other aftermarket retailers may begin having second thoughts about continuing this practice, not wanting to risk having to go through an ordeal as Comoto did.

STURGIS CROWD SETS RECORDS

Some 400,000 bikers rumbled into the small South Dakota city of Sturgis for the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the largest public gatherings since the COVID-19 pandemic began, despite fears it could become a “super-spreader” triggering a massive Coronavirus outbreak.

Though city officials reportedly expected a much smaller crowd this year, perhaps by as much as half, according to the Department of Transportation, the seven-day total for the 10-day rally as of Friday, August 14 was 365,979 people, which is down just by 7.5% compared to last year at the same time.  In spite of a drop-off in attendance of those in the 60-70 age range, which is understandable during the pandemic, the rally surprisingly experienced historically high numbers in first-time attendees, vendors and spending.

“Screw COVID” t-shirts nearly outnumbered mask sightings, as Republican Gov. Kristi Noem adopted a largely hands-off approach to the pandemic, avoiding a mask mandate and preaching personal responsibility.  She supported holding the Sturgis rally, pointing out that no virus outbreak was documented from the several thousand people who turned out to see President Donald Trump and Fourth of July fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

SIOUX TRIBE BLOCKS RIDERS FROM GOING TO STURGIS

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe established strategic checkpoints at entrance locations to the reservation to turn away tourists and bikers going to Sturgis as a means to control the spread of the Coronavirus into Native American territory.  The Rapid City Journal reported that the Cheyenne River Reservation authorities would not allow those attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to pass through the road blocks onto reservation land.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) opposed this move, saying the traffic checkpoints are unlawful and demanded that they be removed.  The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe sued the federal government to keep its checkpoints, citing what they called Noem’s inappropriate request for federal assistance.

The seven tribes that make up the Sioux Nation are now in a fight with federal and state officials regarding the legality of the checkpoints.

NEW HAMPSHIRE MANDATES MASKS FOR LACONIA MOTORCYCE WEEK

Nationwide media images of mask-less, closely packed, attendees broadcast out of South Dakota at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, with just days before the August 22 start of the 97th annual Laconia Motorcycle Week, convinced Governor Chris Sununu to institute the first broad face-covering mandate in New Hampshire for all events of 100 or more people.

“Sturgis was a real warning sign to us,” said the two-term Republican Governor, hoping to avoid a COVID controversy.

To add some teeth to the statute, the state will deploy Liquor Commission enforcement teams to levy fines on those not observing the directive during bike week, and state regulators also have the authority to seize the liquor license of offending establishments .

PHILIPPINES REQUIRES MOTORCYCLE PASSENGERS TO CARRY PPE SHIELDS

Over the past four months of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, the Philippine government has outlawed carrying passengers on a motorcycle, and although they now permit pillion (passenger) riding only for couples who live in the same household and share the same bed at night, all backriders are now required by law to carry a clear plastic shield or barrier in between the pillion and the rider as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Pasig City mayor, Vico Sotto, has sided with the riders and their plight, but says that for now, all we can do is follow guidelines, because there is no other choice.  “It is true that this shield is dangerous. But for now, we have no other choice if we want to carry pillions as this is required by the government.”

At the moment, the government stands firm on its ground that the required barrier shield is safe and effective, insisting that “these approved designs underwent a thorough study which includes the concept of aerodynamics and were also tested for quality safety standards.”

Motorcycle safety experts, bike manufacturers, and the Motorcycle Rights Organization all disagree with the mandate and have called on the government to “hear the opinion of experts and professionals in the motorcycle industry before enacting protocols that would affect the lives of motorcycle riders unnecessarily.”

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “If a man seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence should be from telling others how to think and live.”

~ Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Russian novelist, author of “War and Peace”

ABOUT AIM / NCOM: The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).